Q: I am an eight-year breast cancer survivor. I had a great breast doctor but my plastic surgeon botched my right breast. No implants – it was a latissimus dorsi reconstruction. My right breast is flat as can be, and I do suffer from scar tissue pain. I can be doing the simplest of things that should not cause pain, but the pain is excruciating. My current breast doctor tells me I will have to live with it. I’m so glad I didn’t have a procedure on my left breast. Do you ever come across patients with painful scar tissue? Would reconstruction repair the tissue? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to read my note. It’s surgeons such as yourselves who give people hope!
I’m sorry you are having trouble with your reconstruction, both appearance and comfort-wise.
The latissimus flap is not commonly large enough to be able to provide an acceptable breast mound by itself. Traditionally, a breast implant is placed under the flap to provide increased bulk and projection. We also have found that sequentially grafting a patient’s own fat into the latissimus and surrounding tissue can sometimes provide an adequate breast mound, thus avoiding potential complications associated with breast implants.
Pain after breast reconstruction is fortunately less common after using your own tissue than after using implants, but it still can occur. It often can be difficult to determine what is causing the pain, but many times measures can be taken after careful assessment to improve the situation.
I would be happy to chat with you by phone in more detail about your situation, if you wish. Please let us know what we can do to help.
Richard M. Kline, Jr., MD